Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland
You can use sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) to treat lightly polluted water that runs off from your site, reducing the impact on the environment.
You must not use SuDS to treat sewage, heavily contaminated run-off or trade effluent. If you cause or allow surface water or groundwater pollution you may be committing an offence and may be prosecuted and fined or imprisoned.
You may have to include plans for SuDS when you apply for planning permission for new developments. It is good practice to include the use of SuDS in all development plans.
You must consult with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) before discharging any run-off from your site to surface waters or groundwater. If you discharge to a sewer you will need a consent or agreement from your sewerage provider. If you discharge any run-off without an authorisation you may be prosecuted.
All new developments must use SuDS to control surface water run-off to the water environment, unless the run-off is from a single dwelling or is to coastal waters.
GBR 10 details the rules relating to discharging water from a surface water drainage system.
From 01 January 2018, GBR 10 covers all surface water discharges, including those requiring SuDS, from:
If your site exceeds these thresholds then you will require authorisation from SEPA, see SEPA : Construction site licences..
For further information see - The Water Environment (Miscellaneous) (Scotland) Regulations 2017, schedule 3, Activities 10 and 11 - Discharges of water run-off (GBR 10 and 11)
SuDS must be:
If your site was constructed after 1 April 2007, you must not discharge untreated surface water which contains run-off from:
If you discharge surface water run-off from a construction site, you must use suitable SUDS techniques.
Run-off from hard paving is likely to be contaminated by oil, organic material or toxic metals. Where there is a high risk of contamination by oil, you may need to install an appropriate oil separator in the drainage system.
Where possible, you should design SuDS to increase biodiversity and provide habitats for wildlife in the area they drain.
For further information on measures to control water pollution, see our guideline: Preventing water pollution.
Using Sustainable Drainage Systems
My Year at NetRegs, A reflection on my time as an intern with the NetRegs team at SEPA. An overview of all the activities and projects I had the opportunity to participate in during my Bright Green Environmental Placement.
A day with Hydrology, SEPA's hydrometry unit is responsible for around 400 gauging stations and 350 rainfall monitoring sites. River gauging stations are important as they allow river levels to be monitored so flood events can be predicted and flood warnings sent out.
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